REV. DR. LORINA MARSHALL-BLAKE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, is President of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and Vice President, Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross. She also serves as an associate minister at the Vine Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, and is affiliated with more than 30 professional and civic organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the United Negro College Fund, and is the President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Best and worst decision? “When I said ‘yes’ to ministry, accepting it’s not about status; it’s about service. I am definitely a servant leader. Worst: Not leaving a job sooner. After an episode of social injustice, finally, I took off. It’s wrong when people think they are better than others.” Dream job as a child? “I wanted to be a nurse or a fireman because I am always putting out fires and putting someone back together. There were five of I was often the one that had to look out for my siblings. A lot of organizations have folk with nursing degrees—compassion, empathy, and business skills.” Barriers to female leadership? “Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemy, or letting folks define us. We need ‘G.C.’ — God Confidence. A favorite assage is Psalms 136: ‘We are marvelously and wonderfully made.’ Everybody has value, is special. and has a voice, still making room for growth. Someone said, ‘I am an unapologetic Black female’. You don’t have to apologize for who you are.” Who inspires you? “Michelle Obama. Strong Black woman—polished, prepared, spiritual — and not afraid to speak her mind. She values family. Even when people rise up against her, she stands firm. My favorite poem, ‘Women’ is by Alice Walker: ‘‘They were women then/My mamas generation/Husky of voice/Stout of Step/With fists as well as hands/How they battered down doors/And ironed starched white shirts/ How they led armies/Head ragged generals/Across mine fields/Booby-trapped ditches/To discover books/Desks/A place for us/How they knew what/we must know/Without knowing a page/ Of it/ Themselves.’ The women before us went through what they went through so we can have great successes now.” Challenges for next Generation? “Things are not going to happen overnight or without hard work. A dear friend, Wynonna Green, who passed away in 2016, said, ‘Time makes the difference, and the difference is time.’ I added: ‘You’ve got to give time, time.’ You must take time to learn lessons, have teachable moments that shape you, to do the work to get to the top, and be patient.”

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Eric Nzeribe